Monday, September 14, 2009
Wisconsin Northwood’s restaurants are seduced by the lore of prohibition mobsters, if one were to believe all the stories floating around you would think that Al Capone and John Dillinger spent more time north of the Cheddar Curtain than in Chicago. And so it goes with Bootleggers. In the 20’s (of course) this was known as Phils’ Resort, the usual suspects were rumored to have used this place as their hideout. It all makes for a good story line and is sure to suck-in the tourists from south of the border.
As is the usual case we picked this restaurant with a flip of the coin The Little Marinara and I picked up Dave & Donna our neighbors from down the lake and headed out for a new adventure. For 7:00 pm on a Friday evening it is relatively slow. We check in with hostess and are told it will be a 15 minute wait for a table. We tell her we needed a little more time and wander off to find the bar which to my amazement is huge, hell I thought I was in Serb Hall in Milwaukee. They don’t have a cocktail waitress and the bartenders look kind of old so the girls go out on the deck and Dave and I pick up the drinks. We pulled up a chair to get a view of Lake Nokomis (I think this is an old Indian word for ‘water gone paleface’) or at least what was once the lake, there was more lake bottom than water. I am glad I don’t pay property tax on this beauty.
Within a half an hour the hostess calls our table and we are seated in the dining room by a door to the bar. This corner is so warm the girls think menopause is starting over again. Fortunately, for Dave and myself there are no mood swings. As I look around, the first thing that grabs my eye is that there are not any dead animals hanging from the walls, which is odd for a Northern WI restaurant, however, there are plenty of pictures of Flappers – you know gun molls – easy women of the 20’s, whatever, there are a lot of them.
Our waitress is right on top of things and gives us a rundown of the menu. We all (at least three of us) decide on some form of a Fish Fry, Dave has the traditional fry, The Little Marinara has Poor Mans Lobster, I have Perch, and Donna has (cough, cough) the Chicken Cordon Bleu. Bootleggers also offer Potato Pancakes so I add that to the order in addition to the normal sides. As some of you know I have been searching, almost lusting, for good Potato Pancakes for years. With the order taken our waitress announces she will be back with crackers and cheese – this is after all Wisconsin; real cheese and butter, no Oleo. Most of you probably don’t remember Oleo but the Marianna and I still remember our parents smuggling the stuff across the border into WI and then adding the yellow coloring to make it look like butter. To this day I don’t know why they did that – must be the thrill of bringing illegal food products into WI. Anyway the waitress returns with a basket of crackers and a 1oz portion control cup of some type of cheese spread. This is perhaps the funniest thing I have seen in months, talk about a lack of class. She also brings some warm rye rolls, which are out of this world; slather them down with butter then reserve a room at the hospital bubba. Dave and I have another Ketel One and in a short time our food arrives. Across the board we all agree that it is a average Fish Fry, although the portions are large they are short on flavor. At first I am disappointed that I only receive two Potato Pancakes but after I bite into them I see why only two. They are dense with a slight sweetness and served with a side of applesauce, (in another portion cup) I still haven’t decided if I like them, they were so dense I could only eat one. My major disappointment was the abundance of portion control cups, reminded me of Culvers.
Dinner for 4 with a couple of drinks and a tip was $100. I will put this on my list of places to revisit for a second opinion. Bootleggers is located at 2001 Indian Pine Point Rd., Tomahawk, WI
The Big Ragu gives this a 3.25 outa 5